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Russell: 'Belief is there' to challenge Red Bull

As Red Bull show confidence on track, Mercedes also believe they can mount a title challenge this season.

George Russell says the "belief is there" for Mercedes that they can challenge Red Bull for the championship. After completing 152 laps in the opening day of testing, Mercedes were upbeat about their "much calmer" W14 . Even though it is a step in the right direction, Russell is cautious about their chances early on given the confidence of Max Verstappen and Red Bull but believes they will "eventually" produce a car capable of mounting a challenge. "We definitely believe eventually we will have a car capable of getting into that fight," he told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Whether we're going to have that next weekend in Bahrain, I think is maybe a bit of a stretch. They look very strong, very stable and obviously Max is performing really well. "But there's no reason why eventually, we can't get there at some point this year, and we've always seen the strength of Mercedes and their development rates."

Russell: W14 'step in the right direction'

Out on track Lewis Hamilton was visibly struggling with traction on corner exit in the W14 during Day 2. The main positive for the team is that they believe they have solved their porpoising problems that plagued the team throughout last season. Russell also says the team is running "a lot smoother" compared to this time last year, but believes there is still "characteristics" they must resolve in the car. "In terms of feeling, it's a step in the right direction. But as we know, in this sport, it's not all about feeling it's ultimately about lap time," he explained. "I think compared to this time 12 months ago, things are running a lot smoother. "When we were here last year, there were a lot of alarm bells ringing with the porpoising, unsure how to solve it, was a bit lost, the car characteristics were not good. "Reliability has been strong [enough] to allow us to do the test programme. "We've got things we need to improve with the car, but I'd say generally speaking, we're roughly where we would have expected to be at this time of year."

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